Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Three books and a couple of wahoos

Before I do anything else, I have to tell you the biggest wahoo of the week, thus far, and it's huge (it just happens to also be the miracle referred to, above). It's such an amazing miraculous, totally unexpected phenomenon that, honestly, I think y'all need to get a cup of water, sit down and steel yourselves before I tell you because you might just faint.

Ready? Everyone okay? Here's my huge, gigantic, mind-boggling wahoo: I renewed my driver's license in less than ten minutes. Whoa!!! Can you believe that? I was fully expecting to spend the entire morning with a number in my hand, in a room full of cranky people. I even brought three books to choose from while I waited. Instead, I walked in the door and not one person was seated in the waiting room. I reached for a number and the clerk said, "You can come on back here, ma'am." Is that freaky, or what?

Now, it wasn't a perfect experience. My vision has become better with age and I wanted to have the vision restriction removed; but, the clerk was talking to another clerk the whole time she typed and she ignored that request. Still, everything happened so fast that I was hard pressed to complain. So, wahoo for a miracle at the Driver's License Bureau - quick service!!!

I can't think of any other great wahoos, so I guess I'll throw in one stupid wahoo: Wahoo for butterflies. Told you it was stupid. I've probably also already used that one, but butterflies are absolutely everywhere in Vicksburg, right now, and pretty much the only thing I've been photographing (besides swimmers).

Don't worry, I didn't stick my nose near his wings; that's a cropped photo. And, now, a few brief reviews.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin - 288 pages, Young Adult fiction
Copyright 2002, Square Fish

Fifteen-year-old Lizzie was certainly not expecting to die. It happened so fast. Now, she's on a cruise ship in her pajamas and the afterlife is . . . well, weird. Everyone ages backwards. Lizzie ends up living with a grandmother she never met during her real lifetime, and she slowly discovers that you have to use the life you're given, regardless of how long it may be or which direction you end up aging.

Elsewhere is a totally bizarre take on the afterlife. I thought the story was cute and Lizzie was pleasantly snarky without ever becoming annoying. But, the idea of aging backward really bothered me and I thought the author tried a little too hard to prove how clever she was. Still, it's a fun and original read. I enjoyed it and will read more by Zevin.

Raising Ourselves: A Gwich'in Coming of Age Story from the Yukon River by Velma Wallis - 212 pages, Nonfiction (memoir)
Copyright 2002, Epicenter Press

After Wallis wrote a tale her mother told her as a child (Two Old Women) and it became an international bestseller, she returned to the true story of her childhood. The tale of a native Alaskan childhood, Raising Ourselves tells about the loss of ancestral Gwich'in religion and traditions, the plague of alcoholism among natives and what it was like to grow up an impoverished child in a family with 13 children. A very illuminating memoir that helps to explain why - when white settlers brought their religion and disease to the Yukon - the pain of losing family members, friends and tradition caused the majority of the population to turn to alcohol for comfort. Raising Ourselves is sad, shocking and inspiring; it's amazing that Wallis managed to survive, much less become a bestselling author.

I ordered this book through Paperback Swap and the sender, Lexie, actually paid extra to get the book to me faster because she read my blog and knew I'd just had a birthday. So, enormous thanks and hugs to Lexie!!!

Mum's the Word by Kate Collins - 283 pages, fiction
Copyright 2002, Signet Mystery

Law-school dropout Abby Knight enjoys running her flower shop, Bloomers, and driving her vintage yellow Corvette. But, when an SUV driver rams her Corvette near the scene of a murder, she decides to hunt down the SUV's owner and find the murderer; she's convinced they're one and the same. The hunky local bar owner, a former cop, helps her out. A mix of police corruption, a powerful politician and a very nasty wife abuser mean danger for Abby at every turn.

Mum's the Word is the first in the Flower Shop Mystery series and my second read for the Cozy Mystery Challenge. I enjoyed it. Kate Collins has a nice, breezy style, which I find better than average (for this particular genre). However, I did think Collins left a couple of things unexplained.

I suppose Raising Ourselves and Elsewhere are books that I read justforthehelluvit.

Now reading: Lottery by Patricia Wood and, of course, Haunted Castles of the World when I feel like it and haven't set it down somewhere I'm not likely to find it.

Hohoho, Merry Wednesday! And, Happy Thursday to those of you who live in the future.

Bookfool with butterflies on the side


  1. 10 minutes?!?!?! That's insane! I don't even want to talk about the last time I went to get my license renewed, and I'm already dreading 2010!

    You've had the best butterfly pictures! That's certainly something to Wahoo about :) I bought a huge bag of flower seeds called the "butterfly mix" from Target at the dollar section and planted them in a little garden in the hopes of attracting butterflies and I'm convinced that I got duds...not a single flower sprouted. I watered them every day and everything! I guess I'm just lacking the green thumb...

  2. A definite Wahoo is deserved for a painless time in the DMV!! How come that never happens to me?? I could have renewed mine through the mail this year, and completely forgot!! I was actually late. I was somewhere this past January writing a check. The guy at the cash register said, do you know you license expired a week ago??? What a loser, I am sometimes!!

    And I happen to like butterflies, for the record!!

    I'm adding you cozy to my list. Can never have enough cozies to read!! I just picked up 4 new ones at the local used bookstore about a week ago. They had brand new copies of Charlaine Harris' Lily Bard series!

  3. Congrats on getting in and out of the DMV with your sanity intact! And so quickly.

    I know you are going to enjoy "Lottery"! Happy Reading.

  4. Ten minutes! At the bureau! A miracle indeed. I renewed mine on line last year, so my photograph is really out of date.

    I agree that aging backwards has a freaky quality, but the book does sound interesting, especially the character of Lizzie.

    Love the butterfly!

  5. I had the same experience this past summer at the Driver's license branch - showed up prepared to wait with a stack of reading material and I was out of there in less than 15 minutes! That is a Wahoo!

  6. Holy crap. That is a HUUUUGE miracle. I hope I have the same good luck when I try to get my TX license changed over to NC. Cross all your parts (I'm a little worried about *my* vision).

    I have Zevin (Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac) on my TBR, so I'll keep ya posted on that one.

  7. It's just past midnight here so it's technically now Friday morning. :)
    Looking forward to seeing more butterfly pics!

  8. Good Morning, Nancy!

    Just wanted to let you know you were the winner of my book giveaway, congratulations!!!!!!!

    So happy to know the driver's license renewal took just a quick 10 mins, that must have come as a huge surprise!!!

    Thank you for the young adult book reviews. As you know I have a 12-year who just loves to read, so I am jotting down the title "Elsewhere" for her to take a look at...she might be interested. Aging backwards is an exciting theme but it has to be done well or it doesn't work. Have you read "The Confessions of Max Tivoli"? It also explores aging's a beautiful read!

  9. Chris,

    Try a Wednesday morning in 2010. I chose Wednesday for three reasons:

    1. I figured the people who remembered over the weekend would go in on Monday or Tuesday.

    2. Those who scramble to get it done before the weekend could also be avoided.

    3. I read Bellezza's post about being handcuffed and hauled to jail for having an expired license on Tuesday evening.

    All great reasons, don't you think?

    Thanks. I've planted those flower seed mixes, in the past, and gotten nothing. Actually, I completely avoid seeds, now, and just buy the little starter plants. I think seeds are a bit trickier, myself. Don't give up on your thumb turning green, yet. :)

  10. Stephanie,

    The only time I've previously had a decent experience at the DMV was the year we lived in Michigan (although clerks in my hometown are pretty efficient). Maybe it's a once in a lifetime thing. If so, you could always pray your turn will come up soon. :)

    My license actually expired on my birthday, so I was (ahem) 19 days late. I only know because the clerk at Dillard's told me. Fortunately, they didn't say anything (for one thing, they were far too busy ignoring me to actually *speak* to me) and the late fee was only $1.

    Butterflies are great fun to watch, aren't they? Some sit very still and some are extremely flappy. I watched two fighting with each other, yesterday. It was hard to focus on them because they move so fast.

    I'm not a mystery fan, but cozies are a nice switch; one can become very weary of reading gory details about bodies, don't you think? I have a few more I need to get through (at least a dozen, I'd say).

  11. Kookie,

    Thanks. It was a seriously lucky break. I enjoyed the rest of my morning in a way I haven't in months. :)

    I am loving Lottery! I didn't want to put it down, last night. Unfortunately, I decided I needed the sleep and only made it halfway through the book. This morning I can't focus very well and kept falling back asleep when I tried to read, so I'll read a little at the pool and probably finish the book tonight. I think it's going to end up on my top favorites for 2007.

  12. Jenclair,

    Pretty amazing, eh? I actually got the first terrible driver's license photo of my life. Usually, my photos are terrific and everyone asks me how on earth I got such a great license photo. They're not going to ask me that question for a few years!!! My new one looks like a mug shot.

    Lizzie is a terrific character and Elsewhere is worth reading. I hope I made that clear. The backwards aging concept was oddly uncomfortable to me, but I think Zevin's a pretty witty writer and the book is extremely creative.

    And, thank you. :)

  13. Tara,

    Maybe showing up prepared is the key - just bring a stack of books and you'll end up not getting to read a single page! I'm glad you had a good experience, also!


    I'll cross everything, for you. You're worried about your vision? Really? Do you think they'll test it? I wish they'd have let me try to remove that stipulation from my license, if only because it means I have to keep real glasses handy. I can read a small sign from 200 yards away. It's nutty to have an eyeglass restriction. The funny thing is that all three of my guys have terrible eyes and none of them are legally obligated to wear glasses when they drive. Yeesh.

    Oh, good, I can't wait to hear about Memories of a Teenage Amnesiac. The description of it (in the back of Elsewhere) was pretty nonsensical, I thought. But, it's a bit hard to describe her books without sounding like a nutcase. Elsewhere is definitely unusual. :)

  14. Nat,

    Darn it, I can't seem to get the dates right. Okay, Happy Friday, then! LOL Either way, you still live in our future, so to speak.


    Oh, boy!!! Thank you!!! What an awesome message to wake up to. :)

    Yes, the driver's license experience was a total shock. I felt like I was stepping into another dimension until I couldn't get a word in edgewise and came crashing back down to earth. But, the speed of the process, alone, was worth cheering about.

    I haven't read The Confessions of Max Tivoli. I'll look that up. I really enjoy reading Young Adult novels.

  15. Thank you for the birthday wishes on Nik's blog! I secretly read your blog all of the time and really enjoy it :)

  16. Laurel,

    You're welcome! And, thanks. How cool to know you're peeking in on my blog. I kind of feel like I already know you through Nik's blog!

  17. Ten minutes without an appointment scheduled is great, Nancy! I don't know if you can make appointments where you live,you can in California. It's a good feeling to walk right in past the long lines of people waiting and walk right out again with hardly a wait at all.

    The butterfly photo is gorgeous. We can never have enough butterfly Wahoos!

  18. Wendy,

    I very seriously doubt it's possible to make an appointment, but I can't say for sure. I've never heard of anyone doing so. What a terrific idea! Sitting for three hours is terribly uncool. I was extremely fortunate to walk right in.

    Thank you. I can't remember how to spell the name, but the butterfly is a Gulf Fritillary. Both sides of their wings are pretty - they have iridescent silver spots on the outside. So pretty!

  19. I live in your future. See? I didn't get here until Friday evening.

  20. Bonnie,

    I'm not sure I can wrap my head around that thought, but I can feel the rabies cells multiplying in my brain. Kidding, just kidding. I got bit by a neighborhood cat. Can you believe that? Cat's love me! I think he was just trying to get my attention because I stopped rubbing his noggin.


Thank you for visiting my blog! I use comment moderation because apparently my blog is a spam magnet. Don't worry. If you're not a robot, your comment will eventually show up and I will respond, with a few exceptions. If a comment smacks of advertising, contains a dubious link or is offensive, it will be deleted. I love to hear from real people! I'm a really chatty gal and I love your comments!